Against the Odds) stumbles in the first of a new series featuring Kylara Vatta, whose ""/>
 

TRADING IN DANGER

Elizabeth Moon, Author
Elizabeth Moon, Author . Del Rey $24.95 (304p) ISBN 978-0-345-44760-9
Reviewed on: 09/29/2003
Release date: 09/01/2003
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Noted for her strong heroines and interstellar naval adventures, Moon (Against the Odds) stumbles in the first of a new series featuring Kylara Vatta, whose "generous impulses" often get her into trouble. Ky, a favored daughter of a wealthy, interstellar shipping family, gets thrown ignominiously out of the Space Academy because she aided a fellow cadet who used her gullibility to dishonor the service. In consolation, her father gives her an antiquated cargo ship, the Glennys Jones, to command. He assumes she'll find a way to make enough profit to keep from having to junk the old tub. But after Ky figures out an angle on buying and selling some tractors, she inadvertently ends up running afoul of an interplanetary civil war. Following another generous impulse, Ky takes some stranded crewmen aboard. They return the favor by nearly getting her killed when mercenaries board her ship. Everyone, from her ship's seasoned crew to random strangers, annoyingly remarks on 21-year-old Kylara's youth and "exceptional" poise. With unusually slow pacing for a space adventure (lacking either the drama or the romance of opera), Moon presents several tableaux that are summarily dropped—such as polo that never gets played, a ship's model with secret instructions that Kylara refuses to decipher and an absentee boyfriend—any of which might have added some spice to this bland adventure. (Oct. 1)

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